The European Commission awards four Social Innovation Projects

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Source: European Commission

Winners announced of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition: The three winning projects from the 2019 “Challenging Plastic Waste” Competition will each receive 50,000 Euro for demonstrating outstanding potential to reduce plastic waste and improve re-use and recycling at a systemic level.

The winners are: MIWA (Czech Republic), an innovative, financially sustainable circular distribution and sale system for food and non-food products with reusable packaging. SpraySafe (Portugal), an edible spray to be applied to the surface of foods in order to preserve them, thus reducing the need for plastic wrapping and containers. VEnvirotech (Spain), a biotech start-up that transforms organic waste into biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics using bacteria.

The three 2019 Winners were selected from a total of 543 initial applicants from across Europe. In July, 30 Semi-Finalists took part in the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition’s Academy; an intensive training and coaching programme designed to develop their initiatives. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs commented: “The European Social Innovation Competition clearly shows how we can tackle some of the biggest challenges facing European society through innovation and entrepreneurship. The Challenging Plastic Waste theme complements other important European initiatives, such as the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, and the Circular Plastics Alliance, which rely on the active participation and cooperation of business. I would like to congratulate especially the three winners and to thank all of the participants for their entrepreneurship, ingenuity and enthusiasm.”

The 2019 Impact Prize, also worth 50,000 Euro, went to “MTOP goes digital”, an Austria-based blended learning programme that helps young, highly qualified refugees enter the local labour market. The Impact Prize is open to all Semi-Finalists from the previous year’s edition of the European Social Innovation Competition. It recognises the innovation that has demonstrated the most significant social impact across the past twelve months. Under the theme “Rethink Local”, the 2018 Competition looked for projects that turned local challenges emerging from the changing economy into opportunities for younger generations.

Future Funding Forum

This year’s Award Ceremony also featured the “Future Funding Forum”, a private side-event where the Competition Finalists had the opportunity to speak to experts in the fields such as impact investment and public procurement.

Alumni Network

During the event, the European Commission also announced the launch of the European Social Innovation Competition Alumni Network. All of the Competition’s Semi-Finalists, Finalists and Winners will now have the opportunity to join this community of entrepreneurs, thus fostering cooperation between innovators across the different themes covered by the Competition. They will also benefit from added exposure, as sector relevant bodies and aspiring innovators will be able to find them on the new online directory.

More information about European Social Innovation Competition

Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries. Now in its 7th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe. This year the focus is: Challenging Plastic Waste. The Competition is organised by the European Commission with support from Nesta, Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends.

Source: Scholz & Friends Group GmbH

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